5.0808 Rs: More on Names; X-Posting from WORDS-L (2/71)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 1 Apr 1992 17:06:47 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0808. Wednesday, 1 Apr 1992.

(1) Date: Wed, 01 Apr 92 16:12:11 IST (43 lines)
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Re: 5.0805 Rs: Names

(2) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 92 11:39:29 MST (28 lines)
From: Dan Lester <ALILESTE@IDBSU>
Subject: Forwarded Mail from WORDS-L

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 92 16:12:11 IST
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Re: 5.0805 Rs: Names

Thanks to Gary Forsythe for the reference about Roman women's names.
As for the parallel with men's names, there is a significant difference:
no man had Primus, Secundus, Tertius, or Quartus for a praenomen; there
was nothing notable about being the second or third son. Naming a child
Quintus (or more) may have been a form of bragging (like Callias who
named his son Hipponicus after winning the Olympic chariot-race). Women,
on the other hand, are often referred to as Prima, Secunda, &c. Why?
It is also worth noting that the names Quintus, etc. were not,
as far as I know (again, I am speaking off the top of my head),
"numeric" names any more: I don't know of any reason to believe that
Cicero's brother Quintus had had three otherwise unknown brothers
born between Marcus and himself, and I am pretty certain that Quintus'
own son, also named Quintus, was not the fifth anything at all; he was
simply named after his father. Was a woman ever called Secunda who was
not in fact the second daughter? I know of no information on this
either way.
A further thought: even if you demonstrate that some women had
names (and Valerius, though suggestive, doesn't prove the fact
about women even of his own time), does it follow that all of them
did? Middle names (and for that matter Roman cognomina) are common
but not universal. And even modern first names are not entirely
universal: some American blacks carry only initials -- not the
same as being called Prima or Secunda, but not every American
considers it a name. For that awful anecdotal evidence that is
so encouraged by the e-mail (sitting at the computer instead
of sitting in the library) evironment, I can quote the case
of R.B. Jones, whose recruiting officer refused to fill in
R. B. as the name until R. B. explained that he _had_ no other
name at all. Thereupon the officer recorded in the blank spaces
"R only, B only", and the soldier went through his military
career known to the army as Ronly Bonly Jones. Mr. Jones'
mother surely thought that R.B. sufficed as a name; someone in
the military didn't. Perhaps some Roman women had names and
others didn't; according to the "orthodox" view, that would
almost certainly have been true in the period of transition
from the proto-Italic situation to the historical one. The
historical Romans surely knew that a feminine praenomen was
conceivable ("Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia"), which might weaken
the use of Valerius as proof that it was also practiced.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------47----
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 92 11:39:29 MST
From: Dan Lester <ALILESTE@IDBSU>
Subject: Forwarded Mail from WORDS-L

I just ran across this on another list (words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu) and
thought it relevant in light of recent discussions. dan

* Dan Lester Bitnet: alileste@idbsu *
* Associate University Librarian Internet: alileste@idbsu.idbsu.edu *
* Boise State University *
* Boise, Idaho 83725 BSU and I have a deal: I don't speak *
* 208-385-1234 for them and they don't speak for me. *

How fast can you spot what is unusual about this paragraph?
It looks so ordinary that you might think nothing was wrong with
it at all and, in fact, nothing is. But it is atypical. Why?
Study its various parts, think about its curious wording, and you
may hit upon a solution. But you must do it without aid; my plan
is not to allow any scandalous misconduct in this psychological
study. No doubt, if you work hard on this possibly frustrating
task, its abnormality will soon dawn upon you. You cannot know
until you try. But it is commonly a hard nut to crack. So, good
I trust a solution is conspicuous now. Was it dramatic and
fair, although odd?